“Change is neither good or bad, it simply is. It can be greeted with terror or joy; a tantrum that says ‘I want things the way they were!’, or a dance that says ‘Look, something new!'” – Mad Men
Whether it be expected, hoped for, dreaded, or simply inevitable, we all face numerous changes throughout the course of our lifetimes. To me, this quote is an articulate reflection of how we can best deal with that.. And no, I’m really not just saying that because this is my favorite TV show of all time.
The thing is, we can’t prevent change from happening, but we can consciously decide how we’re going to react to it. This is REALLY important to keep in mind as we navigate our way through life’s unexpected twists and turns. The tantrum of “I want things the way they were!” reflects how many of us get stuck when faced with an unfortunate or unexpected life transition. This mindset is an understandable yet, ultimately unhelpful reaction. We’ve all been there at some point, and it’s not pretty. It’s a form of denial, it keeps us stuck in the past; looking back at what was, rather than what is. This tantrum holds us back from strategizing about what our next move should be.
Rather than tantrum, we could chose instead to engage in the dance of “look, something new!” when faced with change, which would lead us on a path to healing. This is a powerful re-framing in our minds of what change represents. To engage in this dance doesn’t mean that we like or even approve of this change; we just accept it. In accepting it, we consciously choose to view this change differently, as something new and therefore worthy of our curiosity.
Doing the dance of curiosity about change puts us on a path of healing; once we accept the reality of the change, we can then move on to the steps of figuring out how to cope with it. W e can explore various strategies, talk to our loved ones about it, draw upon resources to get us through to adapt to however life has changed. The “dance” represents empowerment; an embracing of the inevitability of change which brings to us the possibility of working through it.